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Cotton, Colleagues: China Shouldn’t Lead World Intellectual Property Organization

December 17, 2019
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Caroline Tabler or James Arnold (202) 224-2353
December 17, 2019

 

Cotton, Colleagues: China Shouldn’t Lead World Intellectual Property Organization

 

Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York), along with Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-California) and Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin), sent a letter urging the president to strongly oppose China’s efforts to lead the World Intellectual Property Organization at the United Nations.

 

In the letter, the lawmakers write that China’s persistent violations of intellectual property protections—as well as the Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive industrial policies and technology practices that undermine U.S. innovation—present serious risks to the United States’ economic leadership and security. Those risks include Huawei Technologies, which was the top corporate filer of international patent applications to the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2018.

 

The lawmakers’ letter to the president may be found here. The text is below.

 

 

 

President Donald Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

We write to express our concern about China’s intent to lead the World Intellectual Property Organization at the United Nations and the threat this poses to both U.S. economic security and the integrity of international intellectual property rights and standards.

 

Last month, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reportedly nominated a candidate to head this organization, which was established as a global forum for intellectual property policy and cooperation and to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world. Given China’s persistent violations of intellectual property protections, including through trade secret theft, corporate espionage, and forced transfer of technology, the United States and its allies must stand firmly against such a move.

 

The CCP is strategically investing in and developing critical and emerging technologies as part of Made in China 2025 and other aggressive industrial policies. These initiatives include a patchwork of practices and tactics which coerce American companies to transfer their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese corporations with the effect of undermining U.S. innovation and economic leadership. In addition, Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies, which is thought to be influenced by the CCP and presents clear risks to U.S. national security, was the top corporate filer of international patent applications to the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2018.

 

Your administration has repeatedly expressed concerns about the shortcomings in China’s intellectual property regime. Notably, the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) Special 301 Report declares China a “precarious and uncertain environment” for U.S. owners of all types of intellectual property. China also remains on USTR’s Priority Watch List for failing to make fundamental changes to strengthen intellectual property protection and enforcement and for engaging in harmful conduct, including unauthorized intrusions and theft from networks of U.S. companies.

 

Mr. President, you have also accused China of “theft of intellectual property and also trade secrets on a grand scale” in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in September. We cannot let a regime, which continues to blatantly undermine the rules-based system by failing to ensure open markets or respect for intellectual property rights, ascend as the leader of global intellectual property policy.

 

Therefore, we urge you to oppose China’s leadership in the World Intellectual Property Organization and take the necessary diplomatic steps to ensure our allies and partners do the same before the Director General election next spring. 

 

Sincerely,


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